A car being followed by police after participating in a street takeover plowed into a Van Nuys business where a party was being held, killing a woman and injuring several others, police said Monday.
An illegal street takeover occurred around 8 p.m. Sunday in the area of Strathern Street and Haskell Avenue as a police helicopter was overhead, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jeff Smith told KTLA.
Police in the helicopter saw a 2007 black Chevy Tahoe doing donuts in the intersection, and decided to follow the vehicle, which took off at an “extremely high rate of speed” with no lights on, Smith said.
Still speeding, the vehicle attempted a turn and plowed into a business in the 7600 block of Woodley Avenue, striking several people who were attending a vendor pop-up party inside.
An unidentified Woodland Hills woman, believed to be around 40 years old, was killed in the crash.
Seven others were taken to various hospitals, including one person who suffered a broken arm and hip.
LAPD officers who were already responding to reports of reckless driving at the intersection had seen the fleeing driver passing by and turned around to catch and arrest him, when he crashed.
The driver, 18-year-old Luis Carrillo-Castaneda, was taken into custody at the scene and arrested on suspicion of murder, according to LAPD.
“There is a possibility that drugs were involved in his driving ability,” Smith said. “That is pending toxicology and blood results.”
Carrillo-Castaneda sustained minor injuries as a result of the collision, police said.
The driver had been involved in previous crashes and has a prior arrest, according to the officer.
Smith said street racing is becoming more prevalent in the city.
“It’s hard for us to stop because you get sometimes 20, 50, 100 cars involved. We don’t have those kinds of assets to swoop in on them,” Smith said. “They usually do it within a 10 minute period, and they take off in all different directions.”
Video from the scene showed an open hole in the wall of the building after the crash.
Officials said owners were planning to open up a sports bar at the location, but were temporarily leasing it out for pop-up events as they wait for their permits.
Anyone with information on the collision is asked to contact LAPD Detective Barragan at 818-644-8028 or Detective Davis at 818-644-8032.